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Press release Only a few Hidden Champions use artificial intelligence (AI) so far

IT employees, cross-departmental connectivity, and digitisation strategy critical factors for the use of AI

Although Hidden Champions use artificial intelligence (AI) applications and processes more frequently (18.8%) than other companies in the manufacturing sector (8.9%), they do not yet appear to be exploiting the potential of AI. This is the result of a survey conducted by IfM Bonn among companies in the manufacturing sector with at least 10 employees.

The survey shows that companies are more likely to use AI if they have a digitisation strategy, their departments are interconnected, and they employ their own IT employees. However, company managers also appear to be deliberately weighing up whether the costs of implementing AI justify the potential benefits for the company's economic development:
Around one in 12 Hidden Champions and one in 6 Non-Hidden Champions have not (yet) decided to use AI processes despite comprehensive cross-departmental connectivity, which is the critical technical prerequisite for AI. "The survey took place in summer 2021. However, recent surveys indicate little has changed in the meantime," explains IfM researcher Dr Susanne Schlepphorst.

Hidden Champions see potential in internet-enabled products

Every third Hidden Champion in Germany produces internet-enabled products. In comparison: Among the Non-Hidden Champions, this applies to only one in 6 companies. Overall, the potential offered by the combination of internet-enabled products and AI remains untapped for both Hidden Champions and other companies in the manufacturing sector: Only one in 3 industrial companies produces internet-enabled products and uses AI technologies or processes.